Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Better Than Anything Cake

This is my favorite cake that my mom made when I was growing up, I never knew what it was called though. I've seen variations of this cake on some of my favorite cooking blogs and this is my favorite name for it. It's the perfect cake for summer. I made it a couple of weeks ago for my husband's birthday and it was a big hit with our whole family. It's really rich and super yummy. Well worth every calorie!

Better than Anything Cake


1 Chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to make it
1 jar (17 ounces) Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel ice cream topping
1 tub (12 ounces) Cool Whip, I used light
3 Heath candy bars, broken up






Bake the cake according to the directions, I only made a half because for our small family we didn't need a whole cake. Allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes. Poke holes in the cake with a small spatula or wooden spoon handle. Pour the jar of ice cream topping over the cake and allow to chill for 4 hours or overnight. 


Spread cool whip on the cake and top with the crushed candy bars, I'm pretty sure you can just break the candy bars up with your fingers, but where's the fun or the stress relief in that?  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cookie Salad

It's that time of year, barbecue season. I've taken this salad to several barbecues and it's one that our kids request that I make. You won't find a better sweet salad recipe, we love it! I've seen several versions of it, but this is the one that I make. This time I played with some dark chocolate fudge striped cookies that I found at Target, but I didn't think they really added a whole lot, so next time I'll stick with the original fudge striped cookies. Plus it has fruit in it, so it's healthy!

Cookie Salad

2 small packages instant French Vanilla Pudding
3 cups buttermilk
1 container (12 ounces) Cool Whip, I use light
2 cans (20 ounce) crushed or chunk pineapple, drained
2 cans (11 ounce) mandarin oranges, drained
1 package fudge striped cookies, broken up

In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding, buttermilk and Cool Whip. Add the drained fruit. Just before serving stir in the cookies.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blondies

Hi, I know I've been a little bit absent for a while now. Sorry, things have been really busy at our house. This is a recipe that I've done before, but I wasn't completely happy with it. I got it from the Six Sisters Stuff cookbook, but I adapted it a little bit and the results were greasy. So, back to the drawing board I went. I took out quite a bit of butter and it was tons better. When I made it this time, I used some leftover Easter candy chopped up, and they were amazing. Can't wait to try it with Cinnamon Chips and White Chocolate!

Blondies
Adapted from Six Sisters Stuff

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup chopped Easter chocolate (or whatever you'd like to substitute!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. The recipe says to line the pan also with parchment paper. I did, but I think that's just to turn them out of the pan to cut them. If you're okay with cutting them in the pan, you can skip the parchment.

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Let the butter cool, you want it to be barely warm.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. I just stirred with a wooden spoon until it looked like they were no longer grainy. Next, stir in the egg, vanilla and salt with the wooden spoon. Lastly add the flour and chocolate until just blended.


Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle extra candy on the top if you want to. If you want the blondies to be slightly gooey then bake them for 25 minutes, or you can always bake for 30 minutes to have them be firmer. Let cool, I used the fridge for a couple of hours, then slice into squares.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meatloaf

Meatloaf wouldn't normally be in my top ten things to eat, but this meatloaf is really amazing. I love the way that the sauce goes both in the meatloaf and on the top to give it an amazing flavor I usually half the meatloaf part for our family and leave the sauce whole, because we love it. One of the best things about it is that it's pretty quick and easy to put together. For baking, I put it on a quarter sheet pan and shape it into a loaf, I usually line the pan with foil that I've sprayed with baking spray, it's just so much easier to clean and you get a lot more crust on the top, and everyone knows that the crust on the top is the best part!

Meatloaf
adapted from Lion House Classics

For the meatloaf:
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup panko crumbs
Meatloaf sauce





Mix the ground beef, salt, eggs, panko crumbs, and about half of the meatloaf sauce until well blended. Usually I would want to use my hands, but the sauce is hot, so be really careful. Mold on a quarter or half sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for two smaller loaves or 1 1/2 hours for 1 large loaf. Allow to stand for about 5 minutes before slicing and serve with the remaining sauce.




For the meat loaf sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can tomato soup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

fresh ground pepper, just grind some in
1/4 cup water

Cook the onion in the oil, or you can use shortening, until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.





Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oops, it's been a few weeks between recipes! This is a recipe from my husband's childhood. These are his mom's go to chocolate chip cookies. It's been a while since I've made them, but we made them as a family a few weeks ago, and it's obvious why the recipe has been around forever. They looked pretty and they tasted great too!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Crisco (I used butter flavored)
1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
5 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 ounces chocolate chips

Cream together the Crisco, margarine and sugars until light and airy (about 3-4 minutes), mix in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add gradually to the wet ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop with a mall scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

I got the inspiration for this sandwich from Real Mom Kitchen a couple of weeks ago, she made just Pesto Chicken, which I thought sounded great, but I wanted to take it a step further and make it into an awesome sandwich. So I took some Ciabatta rolls, and Monterrey Jack cheese and the results were a sandwich that all of our family truly enjoyed, even the leftover chicken pieces were awesome. The best part is that this is so simple!

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

6 chicken tenders (you could also use 3 chicken breasts)
2/3 cup basil pesto, divided (I buy this at Costco)
3 Ciabatta rolls
3 slices Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish big enough to fit your chicken (I used an 8 x 8 inch glass dish) with baking spray and place 1/3 cup of pesto in the bottom, spread around with a rubber spatula. Place the chicken in the dish and spread the remaining pesto on the top. Bake for 30 minutes. I used frozen chicken tenders and they took about 35 minutes to bake.

Cut the Ciabatta rolls in half. Place two chicken tenders on each of your Ciabatta rolls. Top with a slice of Monterrey Jack and broil until the cheese is melted. I usually throw the tops in as well, just make sure to keep a close eye on them so they don't burn! Replace the tops and cut sandwiches in half for serving, if desired.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Orange Stick Brownies

This recipe was really fun. I started with my favorite brownie recipe and instead of having a mint layer of frosting, I made it orange with some orange extract. The result was amazing brownies, this is probably my favorite way to have these brownies yet! They were gobbled up immediately. Can't wait to make them again!

Orange Stick Brownies
adapted from Worldwide Ward Cookbook

Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix butter, cocoa and sugar. When combined, add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat between each egg. Stir in the flour. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees fro 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely. I made these the night before I wanted them, just to make sure they had the chance to cool completely before frosting them.

Orange Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups of powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
1 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon orange extract
Red and orange food coloring (use directions on the package

Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, watching for a good spreadable consistency. At Cutler's we say you want it to be soft, yet your frosting knife should be held up if you put it in knife side down. Add orange extract,and the red and orange food coloring (I just used the directions on the package to get orange, but you can buy food coloring that will specifically make orange at places like Michael's and Orson Gygi.

Spread over the brownie layer. Allow to harden in the refrigerator until firm.

Chocolate Topping

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter


This is the very best part! Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and put back in for 30 second increments, stirring each time until melted and combined. Pour over frosted brownies, covering completely. Refrigerate until topping is set and hardened. Let brownies sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

I've seen recipes for this kind of cookie before, but never really gotten around to trying them. Things that are gluten free usually don't taste very good to people that aren't allergic to gluten. But these cookies really are amazing! I love that you can make them so quick. The dough goes together really quickly, I think the total time between making the dough and baking the cookies was less than half an hour. They are also really versatile, you can make them like standard peanut butter cookies, rolling them in sugar, or add chocolate chips to it and make them like a chocolate chip cookie. I doubled the recipe so that we could try them both ways. Our family loved these cookies. 


Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
as seen on Our Best Bites

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar for rolling (optional)

or

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)






Cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. If adding chocolate, mix that in too. Use a small ice cream type scoop or a tablespoon to make cookie balls. You can flatten with a fork for a classic peanut butter cookie look or leave as a rounded ball and roll in sugar if you want to.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar cookies are one of my very favorite treats and for me, a must have on Valentine's Day. I was unable to make regular sugar cookies this year, but I came across this recipe on Our Best Bites and knew I had to try it. I love the easy, no refrigeration, no roll out method of making these. But I think my very favorite part was the flavor of the cookies. These cookies taste like yummy shortbread cookies with yummy frosting. They are well worth the few minutes that it takes to put them together! For our family, I halved the recipe and simply baked it in my 9 x 13 metal pan. Next time I'll make the full batch in the cookie sheet and share with neighbors. 

Sugar Cookie Bars
as seen on Our Best Bites

For the cookie bars
2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon almond extract
6 cups flour (make sure to spoon lightly into measuring cup)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with baking spray.

In your stand mixer cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy (between 2 to 5 minutes). Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Place the lump of dough into the prepared cookie sheet and spread out with your hands as evenly as possible. I have a hand-held rolling pin with two smallish rollers that I used to smooth out the dough so there were no fingerprints.

Bake cookie bars for 20 to 30 minutes. Mine were done at 22 minutes. You want them to be a golden color across the top. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and the almond extract. Slowly, add the milk. I usually do this by tablespoons and only add enough to make your frosting spreadable. I find this works best in my stand mixer, using my paddle/scraper attachment. 






Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Glaze Sugar Cookies Like a Pro

If you've followed our blog for awhile you know that Cutler's will occasionally host a cooking class. Unfortunately, we've run out of both parking and room for people to come for a class, so we've come up with a new idea with Si from A Bountiful Kitchen, the virtual class. Last week, we were able to go to Si's amazing kitchen and whip up some of Cutler's Famous Sugar Cookies. Si especially wanted to do the glazed ones, and that's kind of what I wanted to show you, this has been one of those things when we've done cooking classes that make people go crazy. I'm not actually going to post the recipe here, you can check out the link above from last year when I posted it though. I am posting just a few pictures from that fun day though. 



The first picture is Curt making sugar cookie dough and to the left is Si cutting out the cookies. You can also go to Si's blog and check out her step by step instructions for making these great sugar cookies. I have to say she did an awesome job with this post! 



 Now on to how to glaze cookies like a pro. First step go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy one of these pans like the picture to the right. You'll find it in the drywall area, it's a mud pan. Next make the glaze, recipe found here or here. Fill the pan with the glaze. You will also need a standard cookie sheet and a wire rack that fits in the cookie sheet, I bought mine at Orson Gygi, love that store! Place your cookies on the wire rack on the tray and pour the glaze slowly over the top of them, I know that Si posted an awesome Gif image in her blog. You can also just put the glaze in a flat dish and dip the cookies in it and smooth with the flat edge of a knife.





Here's the video I took of Curt glazing the cookies. This always amazes the audience when we teach cooking classes. 



Here's the finished product.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cutler's Mint Brownies

I've had several people comment in the last little bit that we have the recipe for the marshmallow brownie on our blog, but not the mint brownie. I guess that's just because the base of the cookie and the chocolate frosting are exactly the same in both. The only real difference is the mint frosting. These cookies are one of our very most popular cookies that we sell in our bakeries. They are really yummy!

Cutler's Mint Brownies

For the cookies:
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/3 cups flour (we use cake flour, but you can also use all purpose)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix. Cookies can be rolled, formed into drop cookies, or pressed into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (double both the recipe and the baking time). To get brownies like Cutler's roll out the dough to about the thickness of a pencil, cut with round cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cookies are done when the top is slightly cracked and no longer looks wet.


For the mint frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
green food coloring

Mix the butter and powdered sugar. Add only enough milk to make a smooth consistency, I usually start with 1 tablespoon and check to see if it needs more. Add mint extract and enough food coloring for a light green color. The frosting should be thick, not runny.

For the chocolate frosting:

1 cup butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar
milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat softened butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add the vanilla and a splash of milk (just enough to make a good spreading consistency) and blend well.

Assembly: Spread the cooled cookies with about 1 tablespoon of the mint frosting. Allow to set up for 10 -20 minutes to make spreading chocolate frosting easier. Top the mint frosting with the chocolate frosting.




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Northern Cornbread

I have never made homemade cornbread before, I've always just bought the Marie Callendar's kind, but the last few bags of it I've bought have had a funny flavor. I saw this recipe in the Food Nanny Rescues Dinner cookbook and happened to have all of the ingredients for it on hand. I liked that it had a nice cakey consistency. It could have been a bit sweeter for our family, so I'm adjusting the recipe accordingly. All in all, this is much better than the store bought Cornbread mixes.

Northern Cornbread

adapted from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner cookbook

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal (recipe called for white, but worked fine with yellow)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
3 1/2 teaspoons melted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with baking spray.

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt) in a medium mixing bowl.

In a small mixing bowl mix together milk, eggs, oil and melted butter, make sure to mix well to get the eggs incorporated into everything else. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. You don't want to overmix this mixture.

Pour the cornbread batter into the baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Ours was pretty brown after 35, I think 30 would have been closer for our oven. You want the cornbread to be lightly browned around the edges. You also want a toothpick inserted in the center of the cornbread to come out clean.

Serve with butter and honey.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is one of those recipes that every member of our family actually will eat without complaint. I started with a pretty basic Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe, but we don't eat any kind of fish at our house, so I substituted canned chicken (it would also be fabulous using one of those rotisserie chickens, or just chicken breasts or tenders) from Costco. There are many other things that I tweaked from there to get it just right, including halving the noodles while leaving the sauce the same, it just gives it a better casserole texture. I love how easy it is to substitute ingredients that you have on hand or that your family likes to this recipe. It's a quick, easy dinner idea. 

Chicken Noodle Casserole

1 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (the small one, I use the reduced fat)
1/2 cup sour cream (I always use light, get the Tilamook if you can, it's the best!)
1/3 cup milk (you can add up to 1/2 cup to make the desired consistency)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Best Foods light)
1 can chicken (from Costco, or use rotisserie or breasts)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (if your family doesn't like this, you can also use 1 can of corn or just plain peas)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping:

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (usually by the Chinese food)
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, spay an 8 x 8 casserole dish with baking spray.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.

While the noodles are cooking start the soup, sour cream, milk and mayonnaise heating over low heat. I usually use a largish saucepan, because after the noodles are done I add the noodles to the sauce. Make sure to stir this mixture regularly. Add the chicken, peas and carrots, 1 cup of cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to the soup mixture. Heat through. Add the cooked noodles and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and put the remaining cheese evenly on top. Sprinkle with the prepared topping and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes.




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Avocado Guacamole

Guacamole is one of our family's favorite things to eat on Mexican food. It's great on any kind of burrito, quesadilla or simply with chips. That being said, it seems like if we open a big thing of guacamole, it's not going to be finished and it's going to turn brown and be yucky. So, I was buying the 100 calorie packs of Wholy Guacamole, but then they changed them and the guacamole had a strange texture. I was way excited when I found this awesome recipe in the Food Nanny's new cookbook that I got for Christmas, I just knew it was going to be great and it was! The awesome thing about this recipe is that you can double, triple, quadruple, whatever you need to to get the amount of guacamole that you want. Next time I make it, I will probably tone down the garlic salt just a bit, but otherwise it was perfect. I can't wait to make it again! Don't forget to plan ahead for this one and have ripe avocados on hand.

One Avocado Guacamole
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner Again

1 Avocado, peeled, and pitted 
3 dashes hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 
1/2 fresh lime, juiced (I used a couple of dashes of lime juice you buy from the grocery store)
Fresh ground black pepper

Mash avocado, I put it in a bowl and mashed it with a fork. Place the mashed avocado in a small bowl. Mix in the hot sauce, garlic sauce and lime juice. Taste to adjust seasoning. Add  pepper to taste. Serve immediately. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Weeknight Spaghetti and Meatballs

It's January now, so the focus of the recipes on our blog is going to be simple, easy, healthy dinners. This is a recipe that I got from Cook's Country, I've changed it a bit to meet our family's needs and likes. I like to make it because it's fast and easy. Another of my favorite things about it is that you only need to dirty (and clean up) one pot. That makes it even faster and easier! I always half this recipe, and it feeds our family of four, we usually have leftovers for about 1 person as well.

Weeknight Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted from cookscountry.com

1 pound hamburger (I use 93% lean)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS olive oil
1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
8 ounces spaghetti, broken in half (I use angel hair)
1/4 cup fresh basil (I buy this in tubes in the produce section)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to top

Combine the hamburger, salt, breadcrumbs, eggs and half the garlic in a medium bowl, kneading gently. Form mixture into 1 inch meatballs. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, I use a Chili pan, and place meatballs into heated pan. Cook the meatballs until they have gotten browned all over, which takes around 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate and cover. 

Place the remaining garlic into the pan and saute, just until fragrant, this only takes about 30 second. Add the tomatoes, water and spaghetti and allow to come to a boil. Cover pan, and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until the pasta begins to soften. Return the meatballs to the pan and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese.